BBCR4 on Crypto-wars today at 13:30

Peter Fairbrother zenadsl6186 at
Thu Mar 20 22:46:48 GMT 2014

On 17/03/14 19:52, Brian Gladman wrote:
> On 17/03/2014 15:52, Peter Fairbrother wrote:
>> Hi Caspar,
>> There are many omissions and over-simplifications, but at 4.41
>> @gordoncorera says:
>> "The Levinson case goes to the heart of a fundamental clash between
>> two opposing sides - there are those who want our electronic
>> communications to be entirely private, so that absolutely no-one
>> apart from the recipient can know what's benig said. Set against
>> them are those who think the State should be able to get access,
>> for instance when it says it's investigating crime or protecting
>> national security.
>> I think that's it in a nutshell - and on that basis, with the
>> demands for keys in RIPA we lost the crypto wars in the UK.
> Hi Peter,

Hi Brian,
> I don't see RIPA as having the significance you attach to it in the
> context of the Crypto Wars.  Various means of State sponsored coercion
> to force people to reveal their secrets have been in existence for a
> few thousand years prior to the Crypto Wars so why would adding one
> more be such a big deal?

Suppose you hide the McGuffin. In the old days maybe they would torture 
you for it's location, but in more civilised times they would look for 
it. If they find it you go to jail, if you have hidden it well enough 
that they can't find it you go free.

Nobody would think it right that someone should be punished, or punished 
more, for trying to hide the McGuffin - that really would be something 
out of 1984.

Something similar should happen when the McGuffin is data. However under 
RIPA if you use encryption to hide it they still torture you for it - if 
a threat of imprisonment isn't torture, it isn't far away from it.

It is uncivilised.

> In my view the Crypto Wars were primarily about removing the controls
> that the US, the UK and some other governments were seeking to
> maintain on cryptographic and related technologies.
> There were no doubt some who thought that this was about 'privacy for
> the masses' but those with more real world experience knew only too
> well that winning the Crypto Wars was only the first of several wars
> that would have to be won if this was ever going to be achieved (and
> the subsequent wars would be a _lot_ harder to win).
> [snip]
>> It's a little harder to use crypto effectively in the UK because of
>> the key demands in RIPA Part 2 - but only a little, you don't have
>> to be any kind of nerd, eg truecrypt seems to do that job OK if
>> used properly.
> There is surely little if any real difference - Levinson's keys were
> seized in the US under US law so how does RIPA make things harder here?

Levinson's keys weren't protecting Levinson's secrets, and more 
particularly they weren't protecting any potential evidence against him 
- they were protecting Snowden's secrets (and those of the rest of L's 

If they had been, most likely the warrant would not have been issued. If 
it had, it would still be in appeal.

> I do, of course, agree that it is a real shame that the BBC programme
> failed to even mention what was going on here in the UK. Especially so
> given that this list was an intrinsic part of our Crypto Wars.


-- Peter Fairbrother

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